Do you know the song Second Hand Rose, originally sung by Fanny Brice and then by Barbra Streisand? The phrase reads: “I wear used hats, used clothes, that’s why they call me a used rose.”
Well, that describes my life growing up. Nearly everything we had belonged to someone else first: bicycles, furniture, clothes (often handed over by family and friends), tools, and books. . . You name it, we had it second hand.
It wasn’t that bothering me and my brother that we didn’t even notice. A bike is a bike whether it’s new or “pre-loved”.
I guess that’s why I’m such an advocate for buying things used now — and there’s the added benefit that they’re good for the planet, too.
Not surprisingly, the cost of living has led to a booming second-hand economy, which is estimated to be worth £10 billion, according to a recent study by Gumtree.
Well, that describes my life growing up. Nearly everything we had belonged to someone else first: bicycles, furniture, clothes (often handed over by family and friends), tools, and books. . . You name it, we had it second hand
Gumtree is one of the largest websites in the UK, selling all kinds of everyday pre-loved items. It is now one of the most popular places to buy a used car.
It’s also good for bulky items like dressers and televisions, as it puts sellers in touch with buyers in their own neighborhoods.
Same goes for nextdoor.co.uk, where neighbors sell unwanted items or even give them away.
Gumtree also has a “Free Stuff” section and the Facebook Marketplace, which also tends to work on a local basis, is another good place to look for deals.
I’m a fan of freecycle.org for gifts, too. It’s amazing what you can find – everything from furniture to refrigerators to garden tools to tools.
And of course, there’s eBay, with 200 million users. Its latest service is Revamped Technology, which offers up to 50 percent off top brands like Apple, Samsung, and Google.
Second-hand clothing is also becoming increasingly popular.
You can now buy a Charity Shop (charityretail.org.uk) gift card which will make a fun gift for any fashionista.
The Charity Retail Association (CRA) has 9,000 stores and increased sales by more than 10 per cent in the past year.
Used clothing websites are also thriving. One of the most popular is vinted.co.uk, known for designer vintage fashion.
Still White (stillwhite.com) specializes in buying and selling pre-owned wedding dresses.
Oxfam has eight bridal boutiques across the country as well as an online shop (onlineshop.oxfam.org.uk/bridal).
For baby clothes, Build a Bundle (buildabundle.co.uk), based in Barrow-in-Furness, allows parents to buy for all their offspring in one bundle, reducing delivery costs. It is also an easy way for families to make money selling maternity and baby gear.
A cheaper way to get used baby clothes and toys is through Young Planet (youngplanet.com), where parents can trade in items for free.
A lesser-known vintage site is Cheekys Online (cheekysonline.com), a store dedicated to denim lovers, especially fans of Levi’s jeans.
There’s also Curate & Rotate (curateandrotate.co.uk), which specializes in pre-loved classics. Meanwhile, for quality furniture, don’t forget your local auction house, though be aware that they add a percentage to each sale, so the price you bid isn’t the final price you’ll pay. See auctionsalefinder.co.uk.
There are some downsides to buying used goods. There are generally no guarantees. You should check that electrical items have been PAT (Portable Equipment Tested) tested to prove that they have been checked and are safe to use.
Also check that soft pieces of furniture such as sofas and chairs have a fire safety label on them. Many older versions do not.
In general, it is not a good idea to buy any used helmets. When I was learning to ride a motorcycle, my instructor said we should never buy a used helmet, as it might have an internal crack. The same goes for baby car seats.
You should also be careful when using makeup, perfumes, and lotions. It may be old or even fake.
Do you have the right name for freebies?
Do you have a royal name? If your first and middle names, or first name and surname, are the same as our new King’s, you might have a chance at getting one of National Rail’s 100 free train passes.
So if you’re Charles or Charlotte and your middle name is, say, Phil or your last name is Phillips, go to the National Rail Instagram page (instagram.com/national.rail) Between Friday May 5th and Monday May 8th, commenting on them with your name.
The first 100 students (and legal identification) will receive a free Railcard that awards a third off-peak train ride for a year.
Do you have a royal name? If your first and middle names, or first name and surname, are the same as our new King’s, you might have a chance at getting one of 100 free National Rail train passes.
Lightwater Valley Family Adventure Park near Ripon in Yorkshire is looking for an interim Children’s Executive (CEO) to assist in the development of new attractions. Candidates must be under the age of 12 and love the rides and attractions.
The successful candidate will receive an annual pass and a free day out for their family, including lunch, and a dinosaur gift. To apply, fill out the form at lightwatervalley.co.uk/vacancies and upload it before 4 June.
Get 20 per cent off fine jewelry from new company Momi Ishq (MomiIshq.co.uk). She produces sustainable jewelry made of stainless steel that, she says, won’t tarnish.
Rings start at £22.99 and necklaces from £26.99. To get cash, just enter the code JASMINE at checkout.
ASDA is reintroducing its £5 bonus to first-time users who check out the app at checkout.
Download Asda Rewards (asda.com/rewards), sign up for an account and scan the app for the first time before 3 May to receive £5 in your Cashpot.
Get a true royal discount next weekend
To celebrate the coronation next Saturday, I’m going to the local street party, but that’s not the only way to celebrate the big event. There are plenty of freebies and offers to give us all a lift.
Bus company FlixBus sells tickets to London on Coronation Day for just £2 on new routes from Peterborough and Stevenage and on its Bristol to London line, which now has 12 buses a day.
You can also get £10 off airfare when you book your ticket via thetrainline.com for journeys anytime between 5th May and 8th May.
The BBC is suspending its license fee for the day so venues can show the May 6 concert live.
Costa Coffee is offering customers 25 percent off their full spring menu on Friday, May 5.
Krispy Kreme is serving up a dozen Original Glazed Donuts every hour during Coronation Weekend, Friday, May 5th through Monday, May 9th, exclusively for Krispy Kreme Rewards members.
Krispy Kreme is serving up a dozen Original Glazed Donuts every hour during Coronation Weekend, Friday, May 5 through Monday, May 9, exclusively for Krispy Kreme Rewards members
You need to show your Rewards app to be able to get the free donuts. For information visit krispykreme.co.uk.
Battersea Power Station in London hosts a massive party over the weekend (May 6th to May 7th) with face painting, tribute acts and plenty of displays from the on-site shops. Go to Batterseapowerstation.co.uk.